Cetaceanfishery interactions in Galicia (NW Spain): results and management implications of a face-to-face interview survey of local fishers

Sabine Goetz*, Fiona L. Read, M. Begona Santos, C. Pita, Graham J. Pierce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
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Galicia (NW Spain) is an important fishing region with a high potential for cetaceanfishery interactions. Cetacean depredation on catch and damage to fishing gear can potentially lead to substantial economic loss for fishers, while cetacean bycatch raises conservation concerns. With the aim of gathering information on the types and scale of interactions and of suggesting possible management strategies, we conducted face-to-face interviews with fishers in local fishing harbours, in particular to identify specific problematic interactions and to quantify the level of economic loss and bycatch rates associated with these interactions. We found that cetaceanfishery interactions are frequent, although damage to catch and fishing gear by cetaceans was mostly reported as small. Nevertheless, substantial economic loss can result from common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) damaging coastal gillnets and from short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) scattering fish in purse-seine fisheries. Cetacean bycatch mortality was reported to be highest for trawls and set gillnets, and probably exceeds sustainable levels for local common and bottlenose dolphin populations. Although interview data may be biased due to the perceptions of interviewees, and therefore should be interpreted with care, the methodology allowed us to cover multiple sites and fisheries within a reasonable time frame. Minimizing cetaceanfishery interactions requires the implementation of case-specific management strategies with the active participation of fishers. For set gillnet and purse-seine fisheries, the use of acoustic deterrent devices (pingers) may prevent cetaceans from approaching and getting trapped in the nets. For trawl fisheries, where bycatch appears to be particularly high at night in water depths of 100300 m, possible solutions include the implementation of time/area closures and the relocation of some fishing effort to deeper waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-617
Number of pages14
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number3
Early online date16 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • cetaceanfishery interactions
  • depredation
  • dolphin bycatch
  • fisher participation
  • fishers opinions
  • interview survey
  • bottle-nosed dolphins
  • North-West Spain
  • artisanal fisheries
  • delphinus-delphis
  • marine-mammals
  • acoustic pingers
  • waters
  • bycatch
  • catch


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